Peter, leader of the apostles, realized that their number was incomplete.
Jesus had deliberately chosen and called twelve of them, the same number as the tribes of Israel to whom God had long ago made his irrevocable promises. Judas had been one of the twelve, given a specific share in their ministry. Sadly, he had turned away from his place among them “to go to his own place” (Acts 1:25), preferring his interpretation and plans to God’s. Someone had to replace him.
That person had to be someone who had accompanied the apostles during Jesus’ public ministry and had encountered the risen Lord. Two outstanding candidates met those criteria. Instead of discussing their relative merits and voting, the disciples entrusted the choice to God, “who know[s] the hearts of all” (Acts 1:24). The lot fell to Matthias.
We know nothing about Matthias' personality or his strengths and weaknesses. We have very little reliable information about his life or ministry, either, except that he was probably martyred in Colchis on the Black Sea. But the mere fact that Luke includes this episode tells us that Matthias must have been a dedicated man of God and a powerful proclaimer of the gospel. Whatever the case, Matthias was intimately known to God.
Just imagine what it was like for Matthias to be chosen as an apostle. In that decisive moment, he moved from being a servant of God faithfully trying to carry out God’s work to being a close friend who understood what Jesus was up to and received spiritual power to carry it forward.
Likewise, we have all been chosen and invited into Jesus’ inner circle by God. Each of us brings something unique, without which the body of Christ would be incomplete. It may be an insight into Scripture or an apt metaphor for the Christian life. It may be a keen sensitivity to the spiritual longings of others before they can even articulate them. It may be a creative gift that helps the community worship God in fresh ways. It may be an organizational ability that makes everyone more productive. What’s your gift? How can you use it to build up the church? That’s why you have it, after all!
Jesus, you have chosen me to be your friend. Help me cast aside false modesty, so that I can take my place in the company of your beloved.